British Women Travellers in Tunisia: Representations of the Land and the People (1850-1930)

Amina Marzouk Chouchene


Nineteenth and early twentieth-century Tunisia attracted a significant number of British Travellers. The majority of these were males, but there was a ubiquitous presence of women who recorded their perceptions of various aspects of Tunisian culture and society. Yet the experience of these female travellers has not been taken as a subject of historical research in its own right. This paper seeks to fill in this historical gap by focusing on these women’s representations of the Tunisian land and people in the second half of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth. The period coincided with a notable increase in the number of women travellers who visited Tunisia such as Lady Herbert, Norma Lorimer, Francis Nesbitt, Erskine Stewart, and others. This paper argues that these women’s travelogues cannot be dismissed as orientalist texts. It reveals that their representations of the Tunisian land and people are not homogenous but a mixture of condemnation and admiration.



Tunisia, British women travellers, representations, stereotypes, admiration, hot springs.

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